How to say "How are you?" in Russian + various replies | Free Russian Video Lesson

Updated: Nov 11, 2020

Different ways to say "How are you?" in Russian.

Key Russian phrases.


Hello everyone! How are you? Do you know how to ask this question in Russian?

Well, I guess that you have probably already heard the most simple way to ask it in Russian - "Как дела?" And the most frequent reply is "Хорошо".

While it is perfectly fine to use these phrases in your conversation in Russian, there are more interesting and fun ways to do that in Russian. In addition, "Как дела? - хорошо" has somewhat become a way to just pretend that you care about a person. By the way, if a Russian person replies to you "хорошо" without any other details, most likely that they just feel that you are not really intererested and they don't want to bother you.

Yes, you also need to understand psychology of Russian people.


Ok, so I promised to teach you some interesting ways to start a converstation with a person in Russian. And here is a video lesson with excerpts from various Russian movies, TV-series and so on. Authentic materials are great tools in learning Russian language as they provide an emotional side that can help you learn new words and expressions better.

Don't forget to take a quiz to check your knowledge (below the video and short script).


Before watching this video, I also recommend you to check out a lesson on how to introduce yourself and others in Russian.


Free Russian Video Lesson "Different ways to ask How are you? in Russian"


Here are various ways to ask "How are you?" in Russian:


Common ways to ask "how are you?" in Russian

1) Как дела? [kak dilá] - How are you?

КАК ДЕЛА is the most popular way to ask "How are you?" in Russian

It is rather informal than formal and you should avoid using this form with:

- Strangers (Ex. social workers);

- Elderly people (if you don't know them well);

- People in authority (your boss, professors, etc.)

2) Как твои дела? [kak tvai dilá] - How are you doing?

"Как твои дела?" is another informal and more personal variation of "Как дела?"

You can use this expression with:

- Friends, family members and good acquaintances;

- Colleagues;

- Children

3) Как ваши дела? [kak váshi dilá] - How are you doing?

"Как ваши дела?" is a formal and very polite variation of "Как дела?"

You can use this expression with:

- Strangers (Ex. social workers, officials, etc.);

- Colleagues older than you;

- People in authority (your boss, professors, etc.);

- Elderly people

Casual ways to ask "how are you?" in Russian

1) Как ты? [kak ty] - What's up?

"Как ты?" is a casual and short variation of "Как дела?"

You can use this expression with:

- Friends, family members and good acquaintances;

- Colleagues not older than you;

- Children


2) "Как вы?" is a formal variation of "Как ты?"

It can also be addressed to a group of people

This expression is less formal than "Как ваши дела?"

You can use this expression with:

- People you don't know well;

- Colleagues older than you;

- People in authorities (your boss, professors, etc.)

3) Как сам? [kak sam] - And you?

"Как сам?" is a common casual follow-up question after responding to somebody's question "Как дела?" or its other version

You can use this expression with:

- Friends, family members and good acquaintances;

- Colleagues not older than you;

4) Other versions of follow-up questions

- У тебя как?

Ex. - Привет! Как дела?

- Спасибо, хорошо. У тебя как?

5) Что нового? [shto nóvava] - What's new?

"Что нового?" is a casual expression that is usually used when you haven't seen a person for some time and you enquire about his/her news

You can use this expression with:

- Friends, family members and good acquaintances;

- Colleagues and other types of acquaintances

In informal conversations a question word ЧТО (shto) is often reduced to just ЧЁ (cho)

Ничего нового [nichevó nóvava] - No news

"Ничего нового" is a common answer to the question "Что нового?" if a person

doesn't have any news (or don't want to share)

Short, super casual versions of "НИЧЕГО НОВОГО" are НИЧЕГО, НИЧЁ НОВОГО, НИЧЁ

6) Как жизнь? [kak zhizn'] - How is life?

"Как жизнь?" is a casual way to ask "Как дела?"More popular among men.

It may sound a little dramatic and outdated.

You can use this expression with:

- Friends, family members and good acquaintances;

- Colleagues not older than you;

- Elderly people.

7) Как поживаешь? [kak pazhiváyesh] - How is life?

"Как поживаешь?" is a less casual and more polite version of "Как жизнь?"

You can use this expression with:

- Good acquaintances;

- Friends (may sound a little outdated);

- Colleagues.

A formal version of "Как поживаЕШЬ?" is "Как поживаЕТЕ?" (kak pazhivá́́yete)

Ех.: Здрасте, как поживаете?

Hello (colloquial), how is your life?

8) Как настроение? [kak nastrayéniye] - How is it going?

"Как настроение?" is a common way to enquire about a person's morale and mood in general It is often used on TV-shows, games, special occasions in order to cheer up the audience

Нет настроения [net nastrayéniya]

Meaning: No mood

It is a common way to let somebody know that you are not in a good mood

You can listen to how these phrases are pronounced here.


Slang ways to respond to "how are you?" in Russian

1. Ништяк [nishtyák]

Meaning - really good, cool

Comes from the expression "ничё так"that means it not is that bad

It is a slang word. You should better use it only with your friends

2. Капец or пипец

[kapéts] or [pipéts]

Meaning - it is a disaster, the end

It is not a swear word and young people use it a lot in different contexts

You can also use it to express:

- Surprise

Ex. Капец, у нее уже двое детей!

No way! She already has two children!


You can also use it to express:

- Despair / anger

Ex. Капец, мы завалили экзамен!

Damn it! We have failed an exam!

3. Пиздец [pizdéts]

Meaning - a complete disaster.

Be careful, it is a strong swear word but young people use it a lot in different contexts.

You can listen to how these phrases are pronounced here.

Idiomatic ways to respond to "how are you?" in Russian

Пока не родила [paká ne radilá]

Everything is fine


"Пока не родила" (I haven't given birth yet) is a funny way to respond to the question

"Как дела?" as it rhymes with a word "дела".

Use it only if you are a woman.


And no, you don't need to be pregnant to use it =)


Всё пучком [fsyo puchkom] - Everything is great

Direct translation: Everything is in the form of a bunch

Всё пучком (fsyo puchkóm) is an idiomatic colloquial expression

You can use this expression with:

- Friends, family members and good acquaintances;

- Colleagues not older than you.


Here is a quick tip to make you learn the most common way to ask "How are you?" in Russian.

"Как дела" sounds quite similar to English word combination "Coke dealer"

Watch this hilarious video from YouTube about Russian language:


Now you are ready to take a test on different ways to ask how are you in Russian


Test "How to say How are you in Russian?"

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